Document Type



Purpose. This paper presents results from a participatory action research study with 46 LGBTQIA+ community leaders and 60 library workers who participated in four community forums at public libraries across the US. The forums identified barriers to LGBTQIA+ communities addressing their health questions and concerns and explored strategies for public libraries to tackle them.

Design/methodology/approach. Forums followed the World Café format to facilitate collaborative knowledge development and promote participant-led change. Data sources included collaborative notes taken by participants and observational researcher notes. Data analysis consisted of emic/etic qualitative coding.

Findings. Results revealed that barriers experienced by LGBTQIA+ communities are structurally and socially entrenched and require systematic changes. Public libraries must expand their strategies beyond collection development and one-off programming to meet these requirements. Suggested strategies include outreach and community engagement and mutual aid initiatives characterized by explicit advocacy for LGBTQIA+ communities and community organizing approaches.

Originality. This research used a unique methodology within the LIS field to engage LGBTQIA+ community leaders and library workers in conversations about how public libraries can contribute to LGBTQIA+ health promotion. Prior research has often captured these perspectives separately. Uniting the groups facilitated understanding of each other's strengths and challenges, identifying strategies more relevant than asking either group alone.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Kitzie, V., Vera, A. N., Lookingbill, V., Wagner, T. L. (2023). “What is a wave but 1000 drops working together?”: The role of public libraries in addressing LGBTQIA+ health information disparities. Journal of Documentation.